Sunday, May 1, 2016

Maha Nirvani: The Warriors of Mahadeva. Part 2

A Short Story

Chapter 5: The Mughal Yogi

Continued from Part 1

The greed of man is never satisfied for long. Only the bliss of the divine lasts forever. I have learnt this lesson again and again. And yet when I see it happening once more, it always surprises me. The greed of man.

The Mughal King who now had enough gold, got greedy for acquiring the powers to make it. He lacked the discipline and training required for it. And yet he has not known an unrequited desire in his life. And that is a very dangerous thing. "Oh King" I told him "These powers can be got with your effort, no doubt. But the training itself will not be easy. And without the understanding and submission to the divine and to the lineage of the teacher that brought them to you, they will be dangerous to you and your people". But the King was adamant and insisted on being trained. "This is going to be a long process" I thought. Even with all the rigor and rules of the Guru Sishya relationship, it sometimes gets difficult for the Guru to make the disciple take the leap that he must take if he were to master the siddhis. And here I am, asked to work with a King who is only used to giving orders. I foresee nothing but disaster. But having been left with no choice, I started his training. The training to make a Muhal Yogi.

Chapter 6:  The Mother

Ganga. Truly she is the mother of all civilization. The single source of all the languages, philosophies, engineering and sciences and everything that the world has seen or will see. But for the fertility and protection she has given, and that of the Himalayas from which she descends, we would perhaps have not been able to preserve and pass on the knowledge we possess for millenia after millenia. The mother provides everything without asking anything back. For a child, she is the source of everything. In fact, she is the world. And such is the dependence on her that the lakhs of sadhus who live on her banks have. Ganga gives them everything they need. And they need nothing outside of what she provides. She is the Mother.

Such were my thoughts as I hid silently at one end of a small wooden boat that was floating silently downstream on the Ganga. I watched her waters rocking ever so gently for hours. Watching her has always a exhilarating experience for me. It made me fade into the background and I was filled with nothing but her. I had missed losing myself at her expansive presence and smelling the fragrance of her waters for many years now. The full moon was high in the sky and seemed to shine with an angry red tinge that night.

Some distance away, soldiers were riding up and down the embankments on horses. They were shouting at each other and held large torches in their hands. They were looking for me. People were being woken up and asked about my whereabouts. They were asked whether they had seen a naked sadhu with matted hair. The perfect description for any and every Naga Sadhu in the world. I could imagine an angry and distraught emperor screaming at his commanders back in the temporary palace that had been his residence for the past many months. In a few days I hoped to be very far away from his madness.

Last night I witnessed the  barbarism of the Mughal world directly with my own eyes. I have heard about the atrocities that they had unleashed upon our country but a part of me had always hoped that they were exaggerations. I could not believe that such cruel minds were present in God's creation. Our spies had told us how the officials in the Mughal territories killed and mutilated the common people and violated their wives and daughters at will for minor violations of their impractical rules. How everything they respected was defiled. How they were forced to give up their wealth, their dear ones and eventually their soul itself . How they had to convert to the Islamic faith or die.    

Now I can no longer escape from the truth. Being witness to the true nature of their cruelty, it falls upon me to act. Being powerless with yourself is the beginning of violence. Many Sadhus of the Akhadas permanently remove their sex organs or make them non functional. This helps them focus on what they want to be - which is become one with Mahadeva. To serve his cause. They have no need for their organs as their decision to serve is final and for eternity. That is the intensity with which they live life. The King however lacked such dedication. He wanted to have this and that and everything between. That is not the way life works. There is no space for hypocrisy in life. Mahadeva cannot be cheated.

For a few years the Kings training had gone well. He has grasped many aspects of Yoga and working diligently. For that period, Hindus were not tortured or made to convert. The illegal and crippling Jaziya tax on non Muslims was relaxed. He had stayed away from eating meat or abusing his women. And in fact he forced all his courtiers and his family to follow suit. This surely didn't go well with the people who didn't share his enthusiasm for his new religion. Many attempts were made on his life but thanks to the foresight gifted to me by Mahadeva, I was able to save him from them all. Just a week back a cobra that had accidentally got into his chambers retraced its path on my command. And on the next day we found the King's favorite cousin dead from a cobra bite to his head.

One day, last week, two exquisite dancers visited the Mughal capital from Bengal. The girls were twins and hardly past their teens. In spite of their young age, their movements were perfect. They showed no flaw or lack of training. Their fair skin and the radiant beauty of their faces proclaimed the perfection of their lineage. Their performance started in the evening as the sun was setting and went late into the night of the full moon. The pleasant evening breeze and the melodies of the song blended into one and all sense organs were able to perceive nothing but the perfection of completion.  No one noticed time passing. As they moved around the hall in perfect synchronization, nothing but the two dancers existed. They felt like one person with two bodies moving about the stage.

The King too was lost in their beauty. But his admiration soon turned to lust and then to greed. He demanded they join his harem and when they refused he had their limbs chopped off before putting them before his dogs. The parents and the people of the troupe were chased and butchered as they ran here and there to escape. Anyone who protested met the same fate. The palace hall when I came by to see it resembled a battlefield. There was blood all over the floor and the walls. It was then that I understood that I had to leave. Peace with the Mughals was not the solution.

The gulf between our ways was un-bridgeable. Violence is placing blame for your shortcomings on the outside. Non violence was taking responsibility for everything happening around you. Violence is believing yours is the only truth. Non violence is understanding that all reality is subjective truth. That is why the Sadhus of this land are the most non violent beings. With such tremendous power and weapons and skills at their disposal they have never used it for themselves. They have never harmed anyone except in self defense. And that too only because their lives are not their own. Their lives are dedicated to the service of the people, to Mahadeva. Paradoxically, their weapons and their harshness with themselves are the supreme symbols of non violence.

That night I understood why a war was inevitable. Why the Akhadas were the only hope for Bharath. I marveled at the brilliance of the boy of sixteen, Shankara, who had foreseen this centuries ago when he created the dasanami sampradhaya and the thirteen akhadas. And I wondered how the future he had visualized was going to unfold as I slipped past the terrace to the parapet walls of the fort. From there I dived down into the welcoming embrace of the loving arms my mother, the Ganga.

Chapter 7: The Lord of the Universe

Seven days had passed. The small boat I was tucked into slowly floated along and finally touched the banks. I had not had food or water for seven days. For any observer I was no different from a rag cloth thrown away in the corner of the boat. And I could have remained that way for months if it was needed. That the body needs food and water is a delusion taught to us when we are too young to say no.

The boat touched the banks in the city of Varanasi. The greatest city in the Universe. The first city to be built by Mahadeva himself when he walked down from the lofty mountains to be accessible to the common people. Where he himself sits in the cremation grounds and liberates anyone who dies within its boundaries. I had once spent six months with my Guru in the burning ghats of Varanasi watching bodies burn day and night. As each body slowly disintegrated into the flames I went through my own death. Over and over and over again. At the end of the six month period, I had no identification with my body. Yes. This was the city where I died. And this was the city where I was born again.

There are seven layers to the city and seven cities buried one below the other - each in a different age. If there was a center to this religion; a religion that is so diverse that it affords no center, it is this city. Powerful mystics whom you might find with great difficulty in other places are found in every street corner here. There is no book about philosophy or science or architecture that is not present in the city.

My boat touched down near the Hanuman Ghat. A small secret entrance led me directly into the fortress of the Mahanirvani Akhada. No one - king, soldier, beast or supernatural being - can pass through these walls without permission. The city itself is under the protection of Kalabhairava - the lord of time - one of the most powerful and beautiful expressions of Mahadeva. This was where he removed the fifth head - the ego - of Brahma. Symbolizing the defeat of the intellect by the magnificence of Mahadeva. As long as Kalabhairava protects this city no army can enter it. The sadhus and along with them the treasure trove of the knowledge of Hinduism is safe within its boundaries.

Tomorrow there will be a huge meeting of all the akhadas happening in this very place. I have to share my understandings of the threat of the Mughals and even greater evils that are going to come after them. But before that, I had to visit someone very important: The Lord of the Universe.

Vishwanatha. He rules the universe sitting in this very city. His palace is the largest temple in this city and the grandest you can find anywhere in the world. A tower so high that you can hardly see all of it unless you look up and bend backwards. The entire inner sanctum is covered in gold and dazzles in the morning light. The purpose of the dazzling gold is to show to the people of the world that gold is nothing compared to the blinding light that is Mahadeva, Vishwanatha.

Before the war, it is his blessings and his advise that I go to seek. Sitting inside the garbha graha I am lost in his greatness. When I am sitting with him, I see his past going all the way back to the beginning of time and the future where he continues to radiate for ever. So many visions reveal themselves to me. But they are all so diffused because the core of my consciousness is filled completely with Him. He is sitting there and smiling at me with love that is not love and an acceptance that is not acceptance the way people think about it. It is the love of the father who sees you as your potential and moves you to reach it. After what seems like an eternity I saw him give me a look as if asking me whether I did not have some work to do. And suddenly every vision collapsed into the present and I had the answer that I was looking for. The answer to the question that I hadn't asked but which was inside me. I fell at his feet and quickly returned to the fort. I had a long journey to make and many things to do before that.

Chapter 8: The Greatest Empire in History

I am in a palace of breath taking beauty. The intricacy and beauty of the sculptures I see around are unparalleled in the world. Each sculpture would have been the lifetime achievement of one person. But as I am taking in with my two eyes the beauty of this city of Vijayanagara, I simultaneously see its future with my third eye. Statues being smashed to smithereens. The giant statue of Narasimha outside this palace being disfigured and defiled in the most violent way. Women and children being raped and massacred in the hands of animals with the body of humans. The vision I see breaks my heart. The pain is more because the people of this kingdom are the ones who will undergo this fate with the full knowledge of what will happen to them. They are the ones who stay behind to distract the soldiers of the Sultan. They are the ones who will stand up to sacrifice their lives, their loved ones, their honor and everything they had for the sake of Veda Mata - the mother of all knowledge. Tears rolled down my cheeks, I could say, for the first time in my life.

Many thousands of years ago a legendary King called Vikramaditya had ruled all of India and the world from the south with his capital at Ujjain. After the rule of Lord Rama, his empire was the grandest and the most prosperous. The only empire in India that is comparable to his in size and grandeur today is the Vijayanagara Empire. Much bigger in size than the Mughals and bigger than any empire of India in recent history - Guptas, Mauryas or Ashoka. Their art and sculpture is the peak of beauty and intricacy showing the depth of their understanding and their love of life. They built and restored many temples as far south as Madurai. And all this amidst a hundred years of continuous war with the barbaric Muslim Sultanate from the north who attacked them with relentless ferocity and animalistic hatred.

This empire will be the key to our victory. The victory of Dharma is never like the victory that the Kings fantasize. The victory of Dharma is continuity. Making available to the future the great knowledge of the past. If this is done, we have succeed. Kings after all have a limited life. The knowledge that constitutes the Sanatana Dharma is for eternity. A single line of a single book can remove a lifetime of suffering for someone. The value of that cannot be measured in material terms. And in exchange for this I will be asking the people of this nation to sacrifice their lives, the lives of their loved ones, their  cities and the works for art of immeasurable beauty. History would say that they were defeated. Only the future and I would know that it is only they - and no one else - who has won.

The meeting in Varanasi ended with all the Akhadas and the pandits deciding to move all the treasures of the country to the South. Books, art, secrets, people. When the war starts, the north will not be safe. For a hundred years we will tolerate the current ruler and his progeny so that everything we have can be saved and moved to the south. But after that, we will make sure that there is no Mughal rule in this country.  The kings of the Maratha kingdom will ensure that the Mughals never come down south and those of Vijayanagara will make sure everything worth preserving in Bharath will be preserved. That will be real the victory of Veda mata. The war will be bloody and even Varanasi, which Kalabhairava protects, will not be spared in the struggle. But as of now, all these events are still many years away. And the work at hand is enormous.

Boat after boat and vehicle after vehicle left the city of Varanasi and many others towards the Southern kingdoms. Each carried a treasure trove of knowledge. These would be burried in secret locations known only to a few. This is our insurance in the war that was to follow. The end of the Mughal empire is near. They do not stand a chance against the will of Mahadeva. But they will not go without a struggle. And their struggle will be, like themselves, extremely violent.

Chapter 9: The Eyes of The Fish

Sometimes when you are wandering, the world around you comes to a standstill. The sounds fade away into silence. The setting sun seems to playfully loiter on the horizon with such grace. Things move around you very slowly. You feel you have no body. Only the silent presence of your heart is felt. And that too disappears after a while. What remains of you are the eyes that are seeing this beautiful world. Such moments are when life really exists. These moments are the essence of Advaita, non duality. Those who have experienced this know it. Others sadly have to wait.

I feel I am my eyes and nothing else. The eyes that are the eternal witness. And as I sat there in that complete vibrant silence of the world feeling nothing inside me but my eyes, something strange happened. Something that has never happened before in me. The person who has had so many mystical experiences across many lifetimes. And across many bodies in the same lifetime. I suddenly realized that the eyes I was seeing the world with were not mine. The eyes I was seeing was that of my beloved. The same eyes that I had seen in the cremation ground decades ago. The eyes that had guided me through my death as a sadhu and my rebirth as this ascetic warrior. The eyes that had drawn me into this war for the protection of the civilization of Bharath. I suddenly was nothing. Really really nothing. Not even my eyes. Me, my eyes and everything around me was permeated by her. By her smile, her playfulness and her intense presence. My nothingness was now complete and the whole cosmos was filled with her feminine fragrance.

I now understood - not intellectually, but actually; not by words, but by the sheer absence of them - what the word Meenakshi meant. The one whose eyes can liberate you just by looking. Many many years ago my liberation had happened. Today I allowed myself to be lost in that liberation.

Such was the amazing being who had sent me to lead this war. But before sending me, she had made herself the core of who I am -  just with the one look that she had laid on me.

Three thousand years ago, Meenakshi, the warrior queen of Madurai had conquered all the kingdoms of the world including the heights of Kailash. The only thing that stopped her was her surrender to the love of Mahadeva. Such was the person who had been leading my country to battle. What force can stand against such power. I knew for sure that our victory was certain and the days of the Mughals were numbered. There could be no doubt about it. By his divine grace, the akhadas - the warriors of Mahadeva - have finally fulfilled our destiny and liberated this nation.

Epilogue: The Banyan Tree

Years hence, my work is done. The knowledge is now safely hidden and the armies of the akhadas are ready for the final battle. I travel back south. I am physically at the same place where it all started. I walk down a narrow path covered with high shrubs on both side. After a few minutes of walking the path opens into a large open ground. And standing right in the middle of the space is a immense banyan tree. One unlike anything I have seen before. So Majestic. So alive. Many many dimensions seem to emanate from it. It seems to be pulsating with such powerful energy. Beyond anything I have seen. It is surely many centuries old.

Under its wide canopy, sitting in padmasana, are a few hundred young sanyasis, balasants. The oldest of them couldn't be more than twelve. There was not a sound coming from the area where they sat. Perfectly still and silent. And what more, I could not read any thoughts inside them either. And yet their eyes are open and they were looking at me curiously. Looking at this naked sadhu with matted hair reaching to his ankles. Who walks with confidence into this sacred space where no one is allowed.

She floats up to me and looks into my eyes. There is nothing else that I can see other than her eyes. It is as if I am looking into myself. Or rather she is looking at herself. After sometime when I can again see and recognize the world again, I ask her about the tree. Curiously like child asking his mother. "Oh.. this is for a different time" she says almost as if ignoring my question. "The Mughals are not the end of the problem. There are things to come which are worse than the Mughals.  And this tree and these children are being prepared for what will come after those evils". "Like you" she added "they are waiting for him. They are waiting for the Yogi of Arunachala."

सर्वं सद्गुरु पाधुकारपनमस्तु 

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